Sydney is full of great things to see and do, that you won’t find in the guidebooks. It’s time to live like a local and discover the city’s hidden gems, normally only visited by locals.
Most people see ferry rides as a just a mode of transportation but the Manly Ferry is a real treat. Leaving from Circular Quay every 15 minutes, this ferry ride gives you some of the best views in Sydney. Grab a seat outside and enjoy panoramic views of Sydney Harbour and the passing sandstone coves and cliffs that surround the city. Whilst the trip is only 30 minutes long you’ll be rewarded with beautiful Manly upon arrival. Enjoy beaches ideal for surfing and snorkelling, along with plenty of great restaurants and cafés boasting ocean views.
Sydney’s street art is an alternative city attraction that you definitely won’t find in your guidebook. Taking notes from Melbourne, Sydney’s street art scene has really taken off. Sydney’s Loftus Lane has always been a hotspot for street art. Currently housing a stunning piece called ‘To Be Free Is To Have No Fear’, this lane is a must see. Kimber Lane in Sydney’s Chinatown is also a great showcase of the city’s street art. The current artwork named ‘In Between Two Worlds’ appears as blue clouds during the day, but night-time is when it really comes to life. After dark, the artwork becomes illuminated with an otherworldly bright blue glow.
Looking for excellent views without the crowds? Maccallum Pool is a unique harbour side pool with heritage character and glorious harbour views. The pool’s fresh waters are fed directly from the harbour (and cleaned regularly). And it’s completely free to use. Enjoy plenty of shade to sit under while you watch passing-by ferries. Maccallum Pool really is the perfect harbour side hideaway.
Sydney is packed full of great markets like Paddington and Kirribilli, but have you ever visited the Sydney Fish Markets? Being a harbour, Sydney Fish Market is guaranteed to display some of the freshest, most interesting seafood around. Set your alarm and get in early the witness the morning rush. If you’re lucky you might even be able to book into one of classes at the Sydney Seafood School, housed inside the markets. Taught by chefs such as Matt Moran, these classes are a real treat.
What once was an unused, overgrown railway land, has now been transformed into the mesmerising Wendy’s Secret Garden. All thanks to the pure determination of Wendy Whitley. Take a seat and admire the excellent harbour views or wander the winding paths and spot the hidden artefacts. Hidden amongst the Lavender Bay Parklands, and with not sign posts, Wendy’s Secret Garden really is a hidden gem. Wendy’s Secret Garden is a great alternative attraction to the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Sydney is definitely not short of great places to eat and drink. Overlooked by tourists, The Baxter Inn is a deliberately hidden, underground whiskey Bar. Enter via a fire escape off a laneway and be rewarded with this speakeasy-style hideaway. Serving up some of the best cocktails around, this bar ranked sixth on ‘The World’s Top 50 Bars’ list in 2015.
Hidden on top of a corporate building in Sydney CBD lies The Rook. Self-titled ‘one of Sydney’s most looked for rooftops’ this joint is much loved by locals and the after-work crowd. With an airy, laid-back vibe and a delicious, fresh menu this is the perfect spot to escape the crowds below.
Everyone knows about the Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb, but did you know you can also scale the bridge’s pylon? Climb the 200 stairs of Pylon Lookout and be rewarded with excellent harbour views. During your ascent you’ll pass three levels of exhibits where you can learn about the history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge construction. At only $15 to adults and $8.5 for kids, this is a great way to get views of the harbour, without breaking the bank.
Ticked all these sights off your list and looking for something to do next? Check out the AccorHotels Sydney City guide, it’s packed full of great recommendations.
Image Credit: Tourism Australia